What is Success? - Step To Health

What is Success?

Can you define success and recognize it when it's right in front of you? Let's take a look at what the experts say.
What is Success?

Last update: 27 November, 2021

Our entire society is built based on the idea of achieving success.

To be a recognized citizen in it, you have to be successful. To be happy, prosperous, and fortunate, you need it, too. Everyone talks about success and about how to achieve it. The problem is that many desperately seek it without first stopping to think about what it is or how it can be defined.

Of course, this is not a minor problem. It’s the same with other ideas like happiness. If you don’t know what it is beforehand, likely, you’ll never be able to achieve it.

As you probably have questions about success, today we show you a series of reflections about it. We promise you that your opinion about being a successful person will change completely by the end of this post!

Is it possible to define what success is?

El éxito es deseable por la mayoría de las personas
There are several subjective opinions about success. However, uniform ideas allow us to define them more concisely.

Of course, it is.

Success is a word that derives from the Latin exitus, which means ‘end,’ ‘end,’ or ‘exit.’ It was adapted in the middle of the 16th and 17th century and had its parallel in different languages. In short, we can say that success is the achievement of something, its exit, or its final result.

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However, this definition is incomplete – or at least incomplete if we associate the positive aspect with which we consider something as successful. Indeed, this term is often used as a synonym for triumph, victory, and glory. Something is considered successful to the extent that it is interpreted through these coordinates. The opposite is defeat, failure, and disappointment.

Therefore, success is understood as the triumphant or victorious result of something. Here, however, we must make several appreciations: what is considered triumphant or victorious and in what contexts we can use this term.

Let’s take a look at it in more detail in the following sections.

Is success subjective?

The first thing we have to understand is that success is very subjective. Thus, it doesn’t depend on objective criteria that we can analyze from the outside. Something will be successful to the extent that we consider it as such, and we do it based on expectations.

At this point, a key term arises that will allow us to understand all this better. Etymologically, the expectation is derived from Latin that alludes to the hope that something will happen. When you say that you have expectations towards something, you mean that you have a positive hope that a certain action or event will occur.

It’s for this reason that something will be considered successful based on your expectations. Of course, these have different degrees and are made based on projects and goals. Since degrees can vary and not all goals and projects are the same, we can say that success will always be subjective.

For example, imagine you have a business and your expectations for the day are to make 100 sales. A day is successful when you reach 100 or more of them. On the other hand, doing less would imply failure.

Meanwhile, another person with an identical business in terms of expenses and profits may raise her expectations to 200 sales. Is the second salesperson more successful than the first? No, since both meet their expectations, their projects, and their goals.

In conclusion, success will always be subjective since it consists of the positive achievement of a project or goals that have been established through expectations. It’s not about more and more results, but about reaching the expectations, you had initially. Even if the expectations are very low, it’s still a success because it implies achieving these expectations.

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How many types of success are there?

El éxito en el amor también es importante
Success is often associated with a purely professional field. However, in reality, there are several ways to interpret it.

We’ve already established what success is and why it’s often said to be subjective. Now, it’s time to delve into the different types that exist.

Success is often thought of as something that is associated with the business environment. So, we talk about a successful company, a successful business, or successful growth.

However, we have learned that any positive achievement of goals that have reached certain expectations can be considered successful. Therefore, it’s not limited to the business context. This is why we can talk about the following types:

  • Personal success: Personal success is the assimilation of successful processes in all aspects of life. It’s the most general of them all, as it encompasses more totalizing expectations. Basically, it’s characterized by an attitude towards life itself determined through projects and goals.
  • Professional success: This consists of the fulfillment of the expectations that have been established for the work context. It can be applied in isolation to other aspects of your life, and there are many types. You can consider it from the economic perspective, or with regards to satisfaction, or the achievement of accomplishments that you had set for yourself.
  • Love success: Love is one of the most important experiences in the life of a human being, so success is also manifested here. However, this type of success also varies according to each person. For some, it will be determined by goals such as a marriage, a long-term relationship, building a family, or the sum of many love experiences. For others, it may look different.
  • Health success: This is when you have achieved certain goals related to your physical or emotional well-being. For example, it may mean losing weight with the help of diets, overcoming an illness, or achieving certain goals at the gym.

Overall, the above examples are just a sample of how success can be present in your life. There are other contexts where it manifests itself, such as learning, friendships, or family relationships. Almost every aspect of life that you can interpret through expectations and goals can be assessed through success criteria!

Researchers have found that people have different ways of assessing something as successful, which confirms what we have said. Your results, goals, and expectations determine what you consider successful, not the criteria by which others judge a given achievement. What is successful to others may not be successful to you, and vice versa.

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  • Collins, A., & Baccarini, D. Project success—a survey. Journal of construction research. 2004; 5(02), 211-231.